Written by Atharie Al Salem
The World Endurance Championship has settled itself in Bahrain for two weeks and saw the end of the first battle on track between cars on the 30th of October, where the weekend presented some exhilarating racing to the race fans during the 6-hour charge.
Toyota Gazoo Racing unsurprisingly took a 1-2 finish in the standings of the Hypercar division, with car #7 of Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi, and Jose Maria Lopez taking the overall victory. The standings have been favorable to them all season, despite car #8 taking pole position on qualifying day and running first during free practice sessions. The drivers’ title is up for contention at the 6th November 8 hours of Bahrain race. The hybrid car is making history with their GR010 HYBRID in WEC’s advanced era of technology. The Alpine car #36 A-480 Gibson took 3rd on the podium, with drivers Matt Vaxiviere, Nico Lapierre and Andre Negrao sharing the podium.
In the sweltering weather conditions at the Bahrain International Circuit, drivers found it difficult to find grip through the tyres and experienced a few spins, run-offs and degradation on track. Namely Dragonspeed USA #21 had a tyre issue, where the rear fell off and driver Montoya had to limp his car back to the pits to resolve the issue under a full course yellow flag period. The car later retired due to aerial problems.
Rino Mastronardi #60 found trouble when it lost two laps in the pits due to a transmission issue and making contact with Francesco Castellacci in the AF Corse Ferrari #54. The D’Station Aston Martin car made a mess as its back panel flew off causing debris motivated full course yellow period (FCY – all cars slow down to 80 KPH).
In the GTE PRO category, the Porsche led the start and controlled the pace and later had a 1-2 finish with car #92 in front, although some argue they have a BoP advantage against Ferrari. GTE AM saw #33 Aston Martin take the top step of the podium. Team WRT had a thrilling win in LMP2 against their competition, as they did in the 24h of Le Mans race.
The two-day open event was exciting for many as it was coupled with entertainment both local and international, fun activities for children, vendors and the roaring of the race cars and their spectacular engines. Popular MBC Action motorsports commentator Firas Nimri delivered his electrifying coverage skills that all racing fans know and love.
The Bahrain team of track officials worked diligently throughout the weekend in the pit lane, grid, parc ferme and even driving the medical car. Their slogan #TogetherWeCan worked seamlessly as the event went on smoothly and most importantly, safely.
Bahrain Motor Federation also invited young karting drivers from BirelArt, Praga and North Star teams to have special access and meet their heroes.
The World Endurance Championship comes back once again for its second half of the double header and final race of Season 9 to bring a spectacular close for the champions at the 8 hours of Bahrain race on the 6th of November.
Further event and ticket details are available through the BIC website and social media @bah_int_circuit